Modern Galician-style Octopus

Pulpo a la gallega

Traditional from the Galician Region in Spain, also seen as tapas sometimes, is a super simple and delicious dish however I decided to go gourmet with it and add some extra steps to refine it a notch or two. If you are not into fine cuisine then you will only need to cook the Octopus until tender, cut into smaller pieces and sprinkle with sea salt, sweet and smoke paprika and a dash of extra virgin olive oil, serve with boiled potatoes or a potato fondant for a simple yet delicious entree.

For the modernised version of Galician-Style Octopus I cooked the Octopus until just tender and then marinated it in a garlic, paprika and olive oil mixture to finish pan-fried to add some caramelisation, in addition to this I decided to attempt some puffed pommes which is a crispy potato garnish and, some other extra elements to play with the balance of the dish, so joining the octopus I made some sofrito espuma, a green olive jam, some crispy chorizo and saffron aioli. Please note this is an experimental dish and it’s the first time I make it, altogether was very nice however I must say my favourite element was the green olive jam as it rounded up the dish with sweet and savoury notes if I had to change anything I wouldn’t bother making the sofrito espuma as it didn’t add much to the dish, and would probably make the chorizo crisps into powder as it felt like they were too many of them adding a very salty note in comparison to octopus. So I will modify the recipe accordingly. Let me know if you like this idea or if you will add or take out anything.

Notes about each element of my Modern Galician-style Octopus

  • Octopus: I like to buy it fresh, also bought a young Octopus which are not as big or as tough as a large mature octopus, this was tender in 30min, if you decide to go with bigger ones cook until tender this might take 40-50min boiling. To make it even more refined you could opt for baby Octopi and they will be ready in 20 min or so.
  • Green Olives: Buy pitted green olives, I prefer the large ones you can buy from a deli rather than the canned ones, in either case, they come briny and very salty, make sure you rinse them well before using.
  • Puffed Pommes: This is one of the most intricate elements of this dish, I strongly recommend using a mandolin, I didn’t and try slicing the potatoes super fine with a knife and had inconsistent results, if the potatoes are not paper-thin they won’t puff up. Use a 5 to 6 cm round cutter for this. Prepare them ahead and fry them just before serving for the best results.
  • Chorizo crisps: To keep this Spanish inspired I bought Spanish chorizo from the Deli, Chorizo crisps need to be thin as well in order for them to crisps up in the oven, prepare this before the aioli and reserve some of the released oil to add flavour to the aioli. Instead of serving whole crisps as I did in mine, I will recommend crushing them in a blender or food processor to create dust and sprinkle them on top of the dish. Store any remaining ones in an airtight container lined with paper towels.
  • Saffron aioli: Saffron will add a nice yellow colour, make sure you steep the saffron threads for at least 30 min in the lemon juice. Use a neutral flavoured oil and combine it with a couple of tablespoons of reserved chorizo oil. Mince the garlic very well or use a grater or pound it.

Modern Galician-style Octopus

Recipe by KeymaCourse: EntreeCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Paprika Grilled Octopus
  • 1 Medium Sized young Octopus
    1 bay leave
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 garlic cloves minced
    1 tsp sweet paprika
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    sea salt flakes

  • Green Olive Jam
  • 100g Spanish pitted green olives
    30g white sugar
    30g brown sugar

  • Puffed Pommes
  • 2 Potatoes washed
    1 egg white
    50g corn starch
    vegetable oil for frying
    sea salt flakes

  • Chorizo Crisps
  • 1 Spanish Chorizo

  • Saffron aioli
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    2 egg yolks
    2 tsp of dijon mustard
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    saffron threads
    a couple of tbsp reserved chorizo oil (optional)
    1 c neutral vegetable oil (or if prefered normal olive oil avoid extra virgin)

  • Garnish
  • Micro herbs (I used basil leaves)


  • Paprika Grilled Octopus
  • In a large pot bring water to boil with a bay leave, dip the octopus 3 times in the water before submerging, let simmer for 30-40 min until tender.
  • In a bowl mix oil, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt, cut the octopus in tentacles or desired size pieces and add to the bowl, let marinate for 20 min.
  • Sear in a frying pan or a hot grill, to get some charry finish and reserve until serving.
  • Green Olive Jam
  • Rinse olives well. Bring a small saucepan to a boil and simmer them for a minute and discard water.
  • Blend the olives, and return to the saucepan with the white and brown sugar.
    Cook stirring from time to time, until the sugars dissolve and it starts to thicken in jam consistency. Let cool.
  • Puffed Pommes
  • Slice potatoes with a mandolin to 1-2mm thickness.
    With a pastry brush cover one slice with egg white and another slice with corn starch, join them making sure the egg side and corn starch face each other and press, continue doing this with all the slices.
  • Cut as many circles as they fit in each potato slice and reserve until ready to fry.
  • Deep fry in batches with oil at 160C basting over the potatoes until they puff and turn golden brown and dry in paper towels. Sprinkle salt on top.
  • Chorizo Crisps
  • Preheat oven to 180C, line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  • Slice chorizo to 2-3mm thickness, lay in the baking sheet and bake 8-10 min until they start curling up and crisping.
  • Drain oil and reserve, dry chorizo crisps in a paper towel, they will be a bit malleable still leave them to cool so they crisp up and then crush them and reserve until serving.
  • Assembly
  • Place 3 tentacles in the plate, spoon a couple of dollops of green olive jam, add 3 puffed Pommes, pipe 2 -3 drops of aioli and sprinkle with chorizo dust. Garnish with micro herbs.
  • Saffron Aioli
  • Steep a few threads of saffron in the lemon juice for at least 30 min until the juice turns orange, it helps if the juice is slightly warm. Mix the reserve chorizo oil with the vegetable oil.
  • In a bowl add minced garlic, salt, mustard, egg yolks and saffron lemon, whisk until it starts to go a bit pale, start adding the oil in a fine stream and whisking to emulsify until fully incorporated and it turns mayonnaise consistency.